Coming from a family of artists, Bryony was always encouraged to create but her degree in silver jewellery making seems a far cry from the work she does now. Trips to India as a jewellery buyer led to an interest in antique fabrics especially saris and kantha work which Bryony began to collect. A seaside exhibition with a friend resulted in ‘Flossie’ a life size donkey made with old prices of wood for legs and a covering of scraps of old fabrics. Building and improving on this Bryony continued making life sized fabric animals using recycled textiles often furnishing fabrics, especially William Morris designs and velvets.
As mothers often sat their children on the larger figures Bryony realised they had to be strong so she uses cast iron rod, heavy duty sculpture wire and wood for the skeleton which is covered with sheeting and pillow filling is used to form muscle shape. This is then covered with scraps of fabric stitched in place, layering of textiles give the impression of feather on the birds. Duffle coat toggles carved down make a good beak, false eyelashes look very realistic on deer and false fingernails cut into strips make very convincing claws. All Bryony’s figures, ranging from birds, guinea pigs, dogs, pigs and deer are life size and have names usually suggested by the facial expression, tilt of head or attitude. Hover your mouse pointer over the images below to discover the names of the animals!
Bryony gave us a fascinating and informative talk; it was lovely to see some of her menagerie on screen and meet others in person.